Swiss-Belhotel International targets African expansion

The operator hopes to have five operational hotels in Africa by 2021

Laurent Voivenel.
Laurent Voivenel.

Swiss-Belhotel International has revealed that it is working on an aggressive expansion strategy for Africa.

Laurent A. Voivenel, senior vice president, operations and development for the Middle East, Africa and India for Swiss-Belhotel International, said in a statement: "Our goal is to have five hotels in Africa by 2021. We recently signed a management agreement with Zanzibar Crown Hotel and Resort Limited to operate the beautiful Swiss-Belresort Zanzibar that is expected to open for business in 2019. It will be among the few internationally branded resorts to operate in the island. In addition, we are in negotiation for some superb projects in various other parts of the continent."

He added that the continent offers huge potential for the hospitality industry, and said the increase in intra-Africa travel is of particular interest for the hospitality sector "because at least four out of every 10 travellers in Africa are from within the region".

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Voivenel added: "There has also been significant growth in visitors from China and India. At the same time we are seeing a shift from business travellers to leisure travellers. Around 69% of all travel spend in Africa last year was made by leisure travellers, with the remaining figure being business."

According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) international tourist arrivals grew by 8% in 2017 in Africa to reach a total of 62 million. Arrivals grew by 13% in North Africa, while Sub-Saharan Africa arrivals increased by 5%. This momentum is expected to continue in 2018. The hospitality industry contributed US$165.6bn – or 7.8% - to Africa’s GDP in 2016 and this figure rose by 2.9% in 2017 as per figures released by World Travel & Tourism Council. Meanwhile, the number of planned hotel chain developments has doubled in Africa since 2009 from around 30,000 rooms in 144 hotels to 73,000 rooms in 417 hotels.

The need for quality mid-market hotels in Africa is also something Swiss-Belhotel hopes to capitalise on.

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